The natural discourse of expatriates who are looking forward to retire or relocate in Thailand, either temporarily or permanently, is to contact and enlist the services of property lawyers. Especially those who are coming from the western part of the globe, these foreigners knew the fact that their lack of knowledge on the Kingdom’s property laws makes them vulnerable to some fraudulent individuals and questionable transactions and the best way to counteract such possibility is to hire a Thai-registered property lawyer.
Your lawyer from abroad can give you a point or two on how to protect your rights, investment and yourself from fraud. But he can only advise you so much because Thai property laws and procedures can be very different from the western concepts.
Some property developers or individuals may propose to you on hiring lawyers who are appointed or recommended by them. Some may even propose to “share” their lawyers with you so that you can save on costs.
Is the proposal favorable to you? It depends.
Yet, some may welcome this idea, of the buyer and seller having the same lawyer. But how can such lawyer also serve your best interests? If conflicts arise, you may be at the losing end.
Yes, you are new to the country, naïve of its laws and processes making you an easy target for a few individuals. But, you can always protect yourself. Participating on online forums and asking friends or family who are currently residing in Thailand on which lawyer they can recommend you may prove to be helpful. But among the best things you can do is to determine which among the many Thai-registered lawyers or law firms will serve your best interests and then you appoint them yourself.
There are many reputable lawyers throughout Thailand and a great deal of them has offices in Bangkok that you can visit or you may also contact them through their websites. You just have to gauge which law firm or lawyer is compatible with you basing on your budget.
As a reminder though, you should not affix your signature on any contracts that the developer may offer you until you have the documents reviewed by your personally appointed lawyer. Let your lawyer study the draft and look for provisions that may be disadvantageous to you and ask for suggestions or allow him to make changes in the contract for your benefit.
Legal fees may vary but a simple consultation is offered free by some. Here, you can be oriented of the possible legal framework you will undertake as well as the corresponding fees that you will have to pay.
When you are still planning to come over to Thailand for possible property purchase, choose and appoint your own lawyer to serve your best interest.